Hurricane season is upon us and as we prepare for another unpredictable few months it is important that wastewater treatment operators do the same. There are many measures that can be taken as precaution to prepare for the unexpected, should your facility have to face mother nature’s wrath.
Before the Hurricane:
- Locate copies of facility drawings as they may be invaluable in locating valves, manholes, etc
- Make sure all equipment is in good standing
- Educate staff on responsibilities during emergency situations
- Make note of potential flood zones around your facility and make sure any special equipment is available
- Compile a list of key people, including local authorities
- Check that standby equipment is adequately fueled or powered should your facility lose electricity
- Know the electrical requirements of your equipment to properly size generator needs
- Stock parts, chemicals and vehicles with fuel
- Secure any loose materials to prevent them from becoming airborne
- If you receive a hurricane warning, drain wastewater holding ponds as much as possible
- Stop biosolid shipments and store any current supply at your facility until the storm is over
Of course, the safety of personnel is of the upmost importance, but these steps can help your facility weather the storm and lessen the impact of damages faced thereafter.
Stay tuned later this month for steps to take at your wastewater treatment plant following a hurricane.
“Hurricane Preparedness for Domestic Wastewater Facilities”, FL Dept of Environmental Protection, https://floridadep.gov/sites/default/files/hurricane_preparedness.pdf
Pictured: Satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Hurricanes Katia, Irma and Tropical Storm Jose (September 2017).